My middle child has been ridiculously punky lately.
By “ridiculous” I mean “lying next to her older sister in bed and continuously punching her in the arm” and “kicking the chair mommy is sitting in and moving her feet closer and closer to mommy’s legs while looking straight at mommy with a scowl until she finally kicks mommy. Hard.” and “full-body tackling her eight-month-old baby sister”. That kind of ridiculousness.
Part of the trouble is that she’s been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately. Part of the trouble is that she is three. Part of the trouble is that she is human and doesn’t want to obey or be loving much of the time.
This is me. It is most of us when we are honest with ourselves.
“Be holy” says God. But we don’t want to be holy. We want to cling to our busyness and our pride and our little insignificant sins that really are more foundational than we would like for them to be.
There is a piece of all of us that doesn’t want to be healed, a piece that is a bit afraid of what we might grow up to become. We want, instead, our own way. We desire to gain the things that we want rather than the thing that we most need.
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation – if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
We all have some malice deep inside of us, that part of our heart that does not want what is best for everyone else around us. We all put on our masks of deceit and hypocrisy to hide the complex struggles that wage war within our hearts. We all feel the sharp stings of envy and overlay a caricature on those around us, one that often keeps us from loving them.
Yet every now and then, even in the midst of this world and even in the middle of our own lives that try to hide from holiness, we feel a pang of longing, we catch a glimpse of overwhelming light, and it stuns us into silence.
Perhaps it happens while standing in front of a painting by a master. Perhaps it happens in the middle of a piece of music or at the end of a book. Perhaps it happens when you see one child helping another.
Every once in awhile we surprise ourselves with a longing to be holy, a yearning to have what Jesus had.
And yet we have our moments. Every once in a while, I think, we actually long to be what out of darkness and mystery we are called to be; when we hunger for holiness even so, even if we would never dream of using the word. ~ Frederick Buechner
It is just because of these moments that I believe that we truly belong to holiness. It is because we belong, in the end, to God that we are so deeply moved by these moments.
So be kind. Speak honestly about the ways in which you doubt and fear. Give away when you can manage to overcome your desire to clutch tightly.
(These are some) of the doors that holiness enters the world through, enters us through. ~ Buechner